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back to article Parking ticket firm 'exposed private info' - ICO making enquiries

Britain's privacy watchdog will investigate a major car-parking contractor after its website allegedly leaked drivers' personal information. Readers will be relieved to know, however, that representatives of chesty TV princess Katie Price say she has avoided having any sensitive private information revealed during the affair. …

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Bit familar

Didn't something like this happen before, a few years back? I seem to remember something to do with a website and photos of a parking garage that could be tweaked to see different cars + their licence plates etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Take away their DVLA DB access

This breach shows that UKPC (who, like all other private parking firms use threats to try and extort money for an unenforceable speculative invoice) are not to be trusted with sensitive vehicle registration data. It shows a staggering lack of risk management if nothing else.

For something that is a core part of their business it doesn't bode well...

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penalty ?

It's not a penalty, it's a speculative invoice. Just ignore their string of threatening letters and they will go away.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: penalty ?

Reckon it's best to ignore them completely or reply with appeal due to it being an illegal penalty and see if they just write back to cancel it?

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Unhappy

Re: penalty ? - Jilted. Stood-up. Left at the altar by UKPC

I've had three run-ins with UKPC.

1st - residents' association employing them requested them to drop my 'ticket' and a number of others in which UKPC had been incompetent in discerning permitted from prohibited parking area. Apparently a regular occurrence.

2nd - rude letter, on Tesco paper (eventually turned out it was UKPC, pretending to actually be a department at Tesco rather than just employed by them) telling me they'd 'let me off this time' for exceeding the permitted parking time. This was in a usually half-empty, large superstore Tesco car park. I often used the store and the in-store cafe with its free newspapers. Turned out Tesco's own employees were also regularly harassed by their subcontracted UKPC parking bullies.

Tesco's complaints department did understand my 'I am your f***ing customer and don't like getting sarcy, condescending letters for parking in your car park while shopping in your store' feelings (expressed more politely). However, in spite of two items in their complaints log which would receive attention from Head Office, they never did.

At that point I switched from being a long-term, frequent Tesco customer to an avoid-Tesco-if-conveniently-possible occasional customer. I have enjoy the last ten years as a Waitrose convert with Sainsbury as the B team.

3rd, and best - a sequence of threatening letters from UKPC, with photographs of my car, 'illegally' parked (in a forbidden space in a council car park). The sequence went on for about a year. The letters came from various solicitors and debt collection agencies. The amount of the 'fines', additional penalties, administration surcharges, discounts for prompt payments, threats of court action, opportunities to clear the debt, etc. fluctuated wildly, up and down, with each change in the weather.

I didn't reply to one, but saved them as souvenirs. Then, sadly, I gradually realised that I'd lost my one-way penpal. The letters had stopped. No more thrill of anticipation. Not so much because I'd lost the heart of my UKPC lover, but because I'd really been looking forward to meeting them in court.

I'd had it all planned. I'd wait, meekly, as the evidence was put before the magistrate. Then, when it was my turn, I'd hand over the document confirming that I'd sold the car about six months before the photograph was taken.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: penalty ?

Check out the forums at pepipoo and moneysavingexpert, but the general consensus is the following options:

1: Simply ignore their threats. You'll get a set of mailmerged letters with more and more threatening language and then they'll give up. Their business model is to scare people in to paying.

2: Appeal to them contesting the fact that their charge is unenforceable (they always find against you) then, if in England or Wales, take them to the "independent" POPLA appeals process. It costs them £30 or so, costs you nothing and if they find against you then it's not binding against the individual so you can carry on ignoring.

3: If, (and it isn't very likely) the company takes you to the small claims court (again, England and Wales only) then go to pepipoo and they'll sort you with a defence that'll get the case sorted.

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Meh

Website

Please tell me the "unique link to the company's website" was more complicated than:

www.parkingthieves.com/pictures/?id=53678

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Website

That.

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Silver badge

Re: Website

That URL has a 'website unavailable' response at the moment; I wonder why? Does this even deserve the title of 'URL injection attack'; and which idiot(s) designed the website? It's name and shame time.

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Silver badge

Re: Website

Is that what got someone in trouble for adjusting the url on att's iphone website?

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Re: Website

I do recall a conviction for adding or removing a '.' or was it a '..' ?

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Devil

notice

I've often thought it would be a hoot to park a car in one of their 'controlled' carparks with a notice to say 'photographs of this car will be charged at £60 per shot' and not buy a ticket.

I think my invoice to them would have just as much validity as their official-looking ticket.

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Anonymous Coward

The discrepancy in law..

(From the article)

We should note that it is not against the law to film or photograph in a public place where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy

True, but making pictures, or reading email or receiving an SMS is never the issue. It's when it gets published that the problems start, and regulation has as yet to catch up. Thanks to Youtube et al, small children already have a facial biometric profile stored with untrusted and unregulated 3rd parties before they can talk..

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Childcatcher

Re: The discrepancy in law..

"but making pictures, or reading email or receiving an SMS is never the issue. It's when it gets published that the problems start, "

Psycho-babble alert!!!

There are many regulations in place. They work just fine apart from the occasional slip up.

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Silver badge

Re: The discrepancy in law..

there is a difference between taking pictures and then publishing them. You can take pictures of many things but not necessarily publish them for all to see, especially if they have linked data from a 3rd party to the picture.

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FAIL

Re: The discrepancy in law..

" especially if they have linked data from a 3rd party to the picture."

More psycho-babble.

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Silver badge

Re: The discrepancy in law..

Also worth noting is that most of these places aren't public they're private, hence the unenforceable parking enforcement. Private land in most cases.

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My local borough council have this problem. I highlighted the issue and they could not give a crap. Heavy fines and sacking the responsible would be beneficial even if it is our money.

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Anonymous Coward

Bad parking

"We should note that it is not against the law to film or photograph in a public place where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy"

So there is no need to blur out someone's numberplate when posting on a site such as facebook.com/BadlyParkedCars ?

Though I do so anyway, just to be 'nice'

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Joke

someone lying in bed to a scene of a pig relaxing in a dog basket

What did they nab pig for? Was he "double porked?"

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Anonymous Coward

I told them

Interestingly, I approached the ICO, DVLA and the body that is meant to privately regulate these parking companies in July 2012 of this issue.. Surprise surprise I never did get a response..!

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FAIL

It Sucks

These services should be returned to the public sector or better still local authorities should receive enough money from central government to have to not rely on "parking fees" to finance their services. The whole system of using public or private companies to obtain revenue sucks from start to finish. Think it was Lord Prescott we should than for this situation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It Sucks

This is about parking enforcement on private land, nothing to do with outsourcing from councils

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Go

Hacking

But one ticket recipient claimed to have found that by tweaking values in this web address, he could access thousands of other digital photographs of other people's vehicles.

In certain climes, this is considered hacking. I'm glad in the UK we see it as a privacy failure by the firm, rather than hacking by the punter.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hacking

I'm glad in the UK we see it as a privacy failure by the firm, rather than hacking by the punter.

". but, M'lord, I only mistyped the URL .."

"Twenty times? Guilty as charged. Next!"

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Gav
Childcatcher

You are not a number plate

I'm usually the first to complain about this sort of thing, but this is all a fuss about nothing.

Your licence plates are not private information. Anyone on the street can see them, and photograph them. They are under no requirement to blur/remove them if publishing these photos, any more than they are obliged if they photographed you in the street.

The crucial fact is that your licence number does not identify who you are, or where you live, or what your name is. And this website is not providing a speculative "look up a registration number" search. So all you are getting is a picture of a car, owned by no-one but the DVLA knows. No different from what you'd get if you'd hung out your window and taken the photo yourself.

The only possible person you'd identify would be those with a known personalised vanity plate. And they only have themselves to blame if people recognise them. That's what happens if you insist of drawing attention to yourself and your property.

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Re: You are not a number plate

Hi.

Remember DPA rules; whether information is "personal" or not can depend on what other information is in your possession.

For most people, these photos are not "personal" data as one has no other data with which it can be related to identify any individual.

For the DVLA and the parking lot, they posses the additional data to relate to an individual.

So while this parking lot have arguably failed to store personal data with adequate security, it's also arguable that someone republishing the very same photos is not dealing with personal data.

Fun, no?

-- Iain.

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Unhappy

Re: You are not a number plate

You're 'avin a larf mate.

Don't you know how easy it is to get the details from DVLA given just the numberplate?

Sheesh. It comes up often enough in various news snippets.

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What is the worst that could happen?

Lets assume a third party can identify the location of a persons parked vehicle and then publish it.

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"An ICO spokesperson said:

We have recently been made aware of a possible data breach involving UKPC, and are now making enquiries into the circumstances of the alleged breach before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken."

Shouldn't that say what action will be taken.

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Silver badge

Funny how they ignore reports until AFTER the media has a good chew on the issue.

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Pirate

Car Parking companies

Modern day Robber Barons.

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Are registration numbers secret now...

...I must remember to cover mine up.

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Mushroom

this is why

When in the past i have had one of these "charges" appear on my doorstep, it goes back with a nice fuck you, see you in court...

They (parking robbers) are utterly powerless and will use any dirty tactics to scare you into coughing up. This really isn't a suprise and i bet they aren't the only bunch of twats engaging in shenanigans like this...

icon most appropriate......

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Fw: from Eric Schmidt

Don't like your car photographed at parking? Don't park.

Don't like your car photographed? Don't own a car.

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Un-enforceable "Penalty Notice"

I too have successfully ignored their empty threats of taking me to court for failing to pay one of their penalty charges.

In the end I sent them a cease and desist notice for harassment, they stopped bothering me then.

UKPC are a bunch of bullying thugs that can’t even get that brainless job right.

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